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Program Snapshot

All organs in the body are stimulated by nerves, which send signals that affect the organ’s function. Modulation of nerve signals to control organ function has recently been recognized as a potentially powerful way to treat many diseases and conditions, such as hypertension, heart failure, gastrointestinal disorders, type II diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and more. However, the mechanisms of action for therapies in which nerves are stimulated to control organ function are poorly understood. The Common Fund’s Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) has the central goal of interrogating and elucidating peripheral autonomic and sensory control of internal organ function to catalyze development of more effective and minimally invasive neuromodulation therapies. SPARC is uniquely positioned to serve as a community resource that provides the broader public and private research communities with the scientific foundation necessary to advance neuromodulation therapies towards precise neural control of organ function to treat diseases and conditions.

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Neuron

 

Program Highlights

 

Discover why recent investments, such as the SPARC program, and successful trials using nerves in the foot or ankle to treat overactive bladder syndrome and chronic pelvic pain herald a shift from traditional medications to neuromodulation therapies.


Learn how programs like SPARC may alleviate conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease by controlling electrical impulses to the spleen.


During the 2013-2014 Common Fund strategic planning process, the NIH community identified the need to understand the mechanisms of action for neuromodulation therapies. Although some neuromodulation therapies are in use, the underlying technologies are not optimal, and so a great opportunity exists to develop improved therapies for a number of diseases and conditions. Improving and developing new neuromodulation therapies requires a better understanding of the neural circuits in end-organ systems, as well as the development of novel electrode designs, surgical procedures, and stimulation protocols. In response to these needs and opportunities, the Common Fund plans to launch the SPARC program in fiscal year 2015.

​SPARC Other Transaction (OT) Funding Opportunity Announcements 
Component 1Anatomical and Functional Mapping of the Innervation of Major Internal Organs (now in Phase 1) is seeking projects projects that (a) support a full, multi-expertise approach to comprehensively provide data for the detailed, predictive functional and anatomical neural circuit map for neural control of medically relevant functions of a specific organ and its functionally-associated structures or (b) fill current knowledge gaps in order to provide the foundational functional neuroanatomy and neurobiology data for major organs, potentially leading to a subsequent large Comprehensive Functional Mapping project.

  • (RFA-RM-15-003Pre-application: Comprehensive Functional Mapping of Neuroanatomy and Neurobiology of Organs (OT1)
    See Application for Additional Receipt Date(s): Next due date is July 15, 2016.
  • (RFA-RM-15-018Limited Competition: Comprehensive Functional Mapping of Neuroanatomy and Neurobiology of Organs (OT2)
    Application Receipt Date(s): Not Applicable. Due date will be specified in the Invitation to Submit after successful competition of the corresponding OT1 (RFA-RM-15-003) application.
  • (RFA-RM-15-020Limited Competition: Foundational Functional Mapping of Neuroanatomy and Neurobiology of Organs (OT2)
    Application Receipt Date(s): Not Applicable. Due date will be specified in the Invitation to Submit after successful competition of the corresponding OT1 (RFA-RM-15-019) application.

Component 2Next Generation Tools and Technologies (now in Phase 2) is seeking projects that develop new and/or enhance tools and technologies to elucidate the neurobiology and neurophysiology underlying autonomic control of organs in health or disease.

  • (RFA-RM-16-003Limited Competition:  Technologies to Understand the Control of Organ Function by the Peripheral Nervous System (OT2)
    Application Receipt Date(s): Not Applicable. Due date will be specified in the Invitation to Submit after successful competition of the corresponding OT1 (RFA-RM-16-002) application.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploratory Technologies to Understand the Control of Organ Function by the Peripheral Nervous System (U18)
12 awards issued September 25, 2015
Please click the color-coded shapes below to view individual awardee abstracts.

Approaches

Lower Urinary Tract

Spleen

Cardiovascular and Upper Airway

Gastrointestinal Tract

Electrical Interfaces

 

   

Viral Approaches and Optogenetics

   

 

 

   

Tissue Clearing and 3D Imaging

 

 

 

Transgenic and Animal Models

 

 

Organoids

 

 

 

Ultrasound or Infrared Modulation

 

 

Microfluidic

 

 

 

Wireless

 

 

 

 

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